SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST/KSAN) — Since the discovery of Texas by Spanish explorers in 1519, numerous events have taken place that has turned the Lone Star State into what we know now.
Two events made history on Oct. 4th including a smallpox breakout in Laredo and Texas’ dive into higher education beginning at A & M College.
Thomas S. Gathright takes charge of A & M College – Oct. 4, 1876
The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas selected Thomas S. Gathright as the first president of the college after Jefferson David declined the position, according to the Texas A & M Foundation. Gathright served as president of Texas’ first adventure into higher education from 1876 to Nov. 1879. During Gathright’s time, he faced student housing shortages, faculty and enrollment problems along with the undefined curriculum.
Smallpox breaks out in Laredo – Oct. 4, 1898
TSHA says that smallpox broke out in Laredo on Oct5. 4, 1898. The first death was reported in late October. Physicians reported cases grew to more than 100 by Jan. 1899.
TSHA shares that during this time Texas Health Officer W. T. Blunt advocated for strict measures in order to control the epidemic in the small Texas town. Some of these measures included house-to-house vaccinations and establishing a field hospital to function as a quarantine area.
Riots began in March 1899 when Blunt requested the Texas Ranger’s assistance with healthcare measures after several residents began to resist the vaccines. A gun battle culminated between citizens and the rangers in March of 1899. TSHA says the 10 United State Cavalry was called in to maintain the peace through this time. By May, the quartine on Laredo had been lifted.
Here are other note-worthy events that took place this week in Texas history:
- Janis Joplin dies, Oct. 4, 1970
- Hall for Freethinkers burns down in Waco, Oct. 5, 1889
- Dallas Health Museum opens – Oct. 5, 1946
- Rueben Ross shoots Ben McCulloch in a duel, Oct. 6, 1839
- Native Americans defeat Spanish forces on Red River, Oct. 7, 1758
- Filibuster captured at La Bahia, Oct. 8, 1821
- Witte Memorial Museum opens, Oct. 8, 1926